Doing a language course with StudyTravel also means getting to know another culture. During your stay abroad, you will sometimes see that things are lacking; things that are so normal to you. In many developing countries for example there is a deficiency of healthy food, clean drinking water, medical care and education. Children especially are very vulnerable. For this reason StudyTravel, together with the students, want to make a contribution to improving the situation of children and therefore supports a research project of Unicef in Bolivia.
Unicef helps all children, worldwide. Unicef wants to make this world a better place for children. Unicef helps children get the care and stimulation they need in the early years of life and encourages families to educate girls as well as boys. It strives to reduce childhood death and illness and to protect children in the midst of war and natural disaster. Unicef supports young people, wherever they are, in making informed decisions about their own lives, and strives to build a world in which all children live in dignity and security. Millions of children don´t go to school, are working hard, and are being exploited and abused. Unicef also supports special projects for children in extra difficult circumstances, such as child soldiers or street children.
Working with national governments, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), other United Nations agencies and private-sector partners, Unicef protects children and their rights by providing services and supplies and by helping shape policy agendas and budgets in the best interests of children. Unicef is funded entirely through voluntary contributions.
About 100 million children do not go to school and 1 billion of all adults in the world can not read or write. For those who can not read, write or count, it is generally difficult to survive and they are mostly dependent on others. Education can give them a better future. It is the key to development, not only of themselves, but also of their village and complete society. This certainly is the case in poor countries, which still are in a developmental stage. They need well-trained people, people who can pass on their knowledge to the next generation. Unicef does everything to ensure that all children can go to school, that there are enough schools, material and teachers. Also the lessons must become more interesting, the teachers need to be better trained and classrooms need to be better equipped, so that the children like to go to school. Good education is not only a necessary basis to be able to make your own choices in life, it also teaches you to know what your rights and duties are. For this reason education is one of the most important human rights.
Bolivia is one of the poorest countries of Latin America. Seventy per cent of the population lives under the poverty line. Although the situation improved over the last years, there are still large regional differences. A large part of the population outside of the big cities don’t have access to safe drinking water, sanitary supplies and basic health care. More than half of the population consists of Indians, but their rights are not always recognised. In general they have more difficulties than the rest of the population, that consists of 'Mestizos' (people with Spanish/Indian blood) and white people.
The majority of the children go to primary school, but almost half drop out prematurely. The education participation of Indian children is however significantly less. In former days, lessons were only tought in Spanish, a language that a large part of the Indian population doesn´t speak. For this reason a lot of Indian children dropped out – they just could not understand. Over the last years Unicef and the Bolivian government set up bilingual education in large parts of the country. Since lessons are now also given in Indian languages, the Indian children like to go to school and stay until the finish. They are also more proud of their own culture, where attention is paid to in the special programmes set up for them.
For setting up bilingual education and to improve the quality of education Unicef undertakes the following activities:
- New methods are developed together with the Indian population. In these teaching methods attention will also be paid to the Indian culture and environment.
- Special books are developed with legends and fairytales in Spanish and Indian languages.
- Teachers, especially of Indian origin, are trained to teach the new methods and if needed they can have refresher courses. Special crash courses are given to increase the number of Indian teachers.
- Parent councils are set up at schools, so that parents are more involved in the education of their children.
To achieve this Unicef cooperates closely with the Bolivian government, regional and local organisations and of course mainly with domestic Indian associations.
StudyTravel asks students on enrolment to donate € 2, for the education project in Bolivia and will double the total amount donated by the students. Do you want to know more about Unicef, please go to www.unicef.org.uk
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